When the pandemic forced millions of employees to begin working remotely in March of 2020, the fallout was easy to see, with 84% of American adults reporting increases in stress, anxiety, and anger in APA surveys.
Now, nearly through 2021, workers have been forced to navigate the on-again, off-again nature of return-to-office plans. In fact, in addition to the Great Resignation, some are referring to 2021 as the Great Wait, as efforts to have employees return to the workplace have been repeatedly stymied by new COVID-19 variants.
So what does this mean for employee health in the coming year? What are employees’ new expectations for working and wellness in 2022? The right solutions will require new and better ways of thinking to ensure employee wellness and retention are maintained and improved upon.
5 Employee Wellness Trends to Watch for in 2022
1. Support Work and Well-being with Improved EX
In 2022, many more employers will have employees who are completely remote or work from home at least some of the time. This transition can provide more flexibility, but as employers have seen in the last year, it also comes with its own set of challenges to operations and well-being. Employers who are serious about making adaptations and improvements to employee experience (EX) will find themselves ahead of the curve.
Here are some steps you can take to address and improve employee experience at your own organization.
2. Help Employees Manage and Mitigate Stress
The constant back and forth of working remotely and returning to work, the “Are we hybrid or are we not?” discussions have created the perfect storm for increased stress levels among employees, which has understandably caused stress management to become a crucial employee wellness benefit. Daily stress levels reached record highs in 2020, with U.S. and Canadian workers being the most stressed in the world. In fact, 57% of these workers reported feeling stress on a daily basis compared to the global average of 43%.
Leaders will do well to have benefits in place or some other well-crafted solution to mitigate employee stress levels. Check out some of our helpful tips for battling burnout and minimizing stress that can be implemented across your team.
3. Make Time for Mindfulness
When absenteeism and significant loss of productivity can come as a direct result of employee stress, it’s important that employers set aside ample time for mindfulness. There are highly compelling reasons for employers to offer voluntary training in mindfulness techniques. They can help employees relax, improve their focus and productivity, and reduce their stress levels. Consider implementing a mindfulness program or incorporating regular activities that help employees to reduce anxiety, reduce distractions, and improve thinking.
Read Wellview’s take on how mindfulness may be the key to weathering the mental weight of the pandemic.
4. In-Person and Virtual Activities and Meetings
Whether 2022 has your employees in the office full-time or part-time, meaningful interaction needs to be a part of your culture. Luckily, free interactive games and workout videos spanning from yoga to high-intensity interval training have become increasingly common in order to cater to those working from home – so make use of them! These resources are free, and they can help to ensure that employees stay active and connected no matter where they are.
Read more about how you can provide opportunities for remote (or in-person, if done safely) social interaction for workers who have transitioned out of the office.
5. Create and Expand Financial Wellness Programs
Finally, 2022 will almost certainly see a rise in requests for employee financial wellness programs. A recent Capital One survey detailed that 73% of Americans rank their personal finances as the most significant source of stress in their life. Additionally, the stress of poor financial health can lower productivity and cause absenteeism in the workplace, so it’s critical that employers are responsive to the financial wellness needs of their employees moving forward.
Unlike the more narrow benefits provided in traditional health plans, complete workplace wellness looks to the health of the whole person — including their financial well-being. By addressing your employee wellness in this holistic way, by addressing your employees personal financial concerns, you can improve your organizational health. For Wellview’s part, we permanently chose to expand our mental health and financial wellness services, and have continued to enhance both sets of offerings to meet the surging demand – something every organization should consider.
As we approach the new year, employers will need to put in the necessary effort in order to have a firmer understanding of their employees’ changing health expectations, anxieties, and preferences. As you plan your own employee benefits and wellness programs for next year, consider these trends and how they can fit into a structure that will benefit your employees, their productivity, and your ROI.
Learn more about how we partner with companies to create well-being solutions that show their employees (and their families) that they care; in turn, driving performance and profits.